Peaches Corner often gets the glory for being Myrtle Beach’s most famous bend, but just opposite this iconic spot on the beachfront lies another cornerstone of downtown, Oceanfront Bar & Grill.
Founded as Oceanfront Tavern in 1935 this family-owned restaurant has experienced many changes and weathered many a storm in its 75 years of operation.
In just the past several years, the beachfront bar has seen the removal of the neighboring Pavilion building and the addition of the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk last summer prompting a round of renovations that added outdoor seating and an expanded stage.
Much like the downtown area itself, the recent makeover has sparked a renaissance of sorts for this open air bar which now offers some of the area’s best oceanfront views, a steady stream of live music and a menu of comfort food favorites.
Entering OFBG you get the feeling of being in an oversized tiki bar. Surrounded by wood on the floor, bar, walls and ceiling the indoor decor is less than stunning, but perhaps that’s only to enhance patrons desire to look outside.
Whether you’re a visitor in awe of the ocean or a local who gets a kick out of people-watching, there’s plenty of tables with a open view of the nearby beach and boardwalk.
The bar itself is long and notches in an out a few times plenty of seating. While the wait staff sprints about trying to keep up with busy high-top tables inside and picnic-style tables outside, the bartenders seem to be plentiful and eager to help.
OFBG’s location dictates that the crowd be mostly visitors this time of year, thus the crowd was a combination of young, old and families which were either enjoying a bite or taking retreat from the hot sun during a stroll on the boardwalk.
While there aren’t many surprises on the menu — which consists of finger foods, seafood platters, burgers and other sandwiches — the restaurant’s experience shows in the execution of many of its dishes. Favorites such as the footlong hot dog are covered in delicious chili made from a family recipe passed down from past owner Johnny Burroughs — he of Burroughs & Chapin fame.
Though I was tempted to orer the Boom-Boom Shrimp, large white shrimp fried and tossed with spicy Asian cream sauce and topped with green onions, I decided against the seafood and took the easy road, sampling the Prime Bacon Burger, a 8 oz. prime patty laid atop a Kaiser roll with fresh lettuce, tomato, melted cheddar and crisp bacon.
The burger was juicy and cooked to specification, with a soft kaiser roll and slightly-mesquite seasoned fries adding to my enjoyment.
At the suggestion of the bartender I washed down my meal with a Pacifico, a Mexican pilsner that is a perfect Beachfront beer. She then went on to inform me the OFBG was the first one to have Pacifico on tap and that it had just been installed that day.
As a place built on its atmospheric allure, it’s no wonder OFBG owner Russ Stalvey goes out of his way to enhance the bar’s overall aura with live music every day, all summer long.
Often featuring bands performing both in the afternoons (1-4 p.m.) and the evenings (8-11 p.m.), the selection of music is heavy on laid-back cover bands and acts that can provide the variety to serve as musical wallpaper for bar patrons.
Regular performers include local acts such as reggae group Humble Vibez, acoustic player Jerry Cooper, rock trio The Potatoheads and more. In addition, the bar also hosts a slate of out-of-town acts such as Ras Bonghi, The Freeloaders and DL Token, as well as original touring acts like American Aquarium and The Delta Saints.
During my visit, Wilmington’s Root Soul Project played on a stage located just outside the bar in the former Pavilion lot.
The trio lived up to their name, putting a soulful twist on eclectic mix of tunes ranging from Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye to The Beatles and also threw in surf rock medley of The Vandals tunes and an jazzy throwback tune called the “Rehab Song.” The bar also had local rock duo Long Drive scheduled to play the indoor stage — a large corner area in the bar’s back corner — in later that night, but I didn’t stick around long enough to catch them.
But, music or not, OFBG is one of the best options downtown for visitors looking for a laid-back atmosphere to grab a drink or a bite to eat. Though it can be a hard sell for some locals who prefer to stay away from downtown this time of year, it’s a hidden gem of a spot come fall and is still worth the trip to see upcoming shows such as American Aquarium (July 1), DL Token (July 2) or The Delta Saints (July 3).